"I advocate tolerance because it means we recognise there is another side. Without tolerance, we will constantly be at war."

June 04, 2016

Says Sunita Narain, whose new book Why I Should Be Tolerant will be released in Delhi on the eve of World Environment Day

  • NDTV’s Ravish Kumar, India Today editorial director Raj Chengappa and Niti Aayog member Bibek Debroy will join Narain on the dais in a conversation on environment and environmentalism

  • Book makes a strong case for environmentalism of the poor as the world begins to celebrate another Environment Day. Asserts the poor must be at the core of the sustainable development agenda 

  • Release also marks the 25th anniversary celebrations of Down To Earth, the science and environment fortnightly which Narain edits

New Delhi, June 4, 2016: “We have always liked to believe that every day is an ‘environment day’. This is the unique perspective of environment that Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has always advocated. And Sunita Narain and her book exemplify this belief and this perspective,” says Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general of CSE, while talking about Why I Should Be Tolerant, Narain’s new quasi-autobiographical collection of writings which will be released here today. 

The book holds together essays which capture the journey of the author, one of the Global South’s most well-known names in the field of environment, across 30 years. It is the result of an environmentalist’s reflections, reactions and arguments on contemporary issues of the 21st century (as the sub-title suggests) related to environment and development – a chronicle of the global development discourse from the 20th and 21st centuries. 

The compilation delves into, among other things, the local-to-global connection, the problem of inequity, the ‘right’ development model and most importantly, the role of the poor in the overall environmental discourse. The writings stem from the author’s own experiences in forests, farms and factories, besides the numerous debates she has been a part of during her last three decades in the public life. 

The book tries to bring a new perspective to the way in which the world is dealing with current environmental crises. The current model of development which took birth in the Western world and is being emulated by India and China is based on the wasteful use of resources. It uses huge resources and generates enormous waste, the burden of which rests on the shoulders of the developing countries. Its emissions have put the entire world’s climatic system at risk and made millions living on the margins of survival even more vulnerable and poor.

This then necessitates the need for an alternative system -- one that revolves around greater democracy that makes space for the marginalised and the poor. It is the ‘people’ who should become the driver of this change, not passive spectators. This demands the courage to be able to think differently. Says Narain: “To be able to change the state of the environment, there is a need to reinvent the paradigm of wealth generation itself and create an alternative development model that is inclusive.”  

The author, Sunita Narain, is a writer and environmentalist who uses knowledge for change. She is the director general of CSE and the editor of the fortnight¬ly magazine, Down To Earth. In her writings and advocacy, she has championed the ‘environmentalism of the poor’. A recipient of the Padma Shri and the Stockholm Water Prize, she has been listed by TIME magazine this year among the world’s ‘100 Most Influential People’.

The book release, scheduled on the eve of the World Environment Day (June 5), also marks the beginning of 25th year celebrations of Down To Earth. Started in 1992 by Anil Agarwal, the late founder director of CSE, it was an attempt to inform and educate the masses about the way we manage our environment, protect health and secure livelihoods and economic security for all. 

Says the magazine’s managing editor Richard Mahapatra: “Down To Earth’s first cover was on ecological globalisation in the inter-connected world. Decades past, it has come a long way, as the world is more aware of the dangers of a rapidly deteriorating environment caused to a large extent by anthropogenic climate change. Yet, today, we seem to be even less prepared to deal with the challenges facing local and global environmental management.”

 

• To know more about the book click here 

• For any queries: Parul Tewari, Media Resource Centre, CSE,  parul@cseindia.org / 9891838367